My friend Howard is gravely ill, in the critical care unit of a local hospital. He has requested no phone calls or visitors. At this point I probably couldn't visit him anyway, since I am not blood kin.
But we are kin, of a sorts. I have known Howard since I was a child. He is a longtime friend of my parents. Later, he became a regular at my friend Michelle's parties. We have been meeting there, many times a year, for something like 15 years. For the birthdays of her children. Christmas. Summer barbeques. Year in year out the same folks congregate, sharing homemade food and inexpensive wine and good conversations. Oddly, we rarely meet outside those circumstances. I didn't get to Howard's recent retirement show. I have never been to his home. We have never met for lunch or a drink. But nonetheless, we count each other as friends.
I ask for your prayers for him.